Whether you provide medical services or sell luxury electronics, you will have to resolve a customer complaint at some point. Some complaints are about products and services, while others are customer service complaints that relate to how you handled particular service issues. Handled correctly, customer service complaints can be excellent opportunities to build relationships and retain loyal customers. Learning how to improve customer service will help you do a better job of handling these complaints appropriately.
Responding to Complaints
How you respond to a complaint makes a big difference to the way customers perceive you. In the age of social media, a disgruntled customer can easily tell hundreds of people about a bad experience. Lululemon, for example, came under fire for the way the company’s founder responded to a complaint about the quality of some of its yoga pants. Customers complained about the pants stretching and becoming too sheer, prompting the company to recall some styles. Founder Chip Wilson then suggested that some women just did not have the right bodies for Lululemon’s pants, upsetting customers and generating a lot of negative publicity.
Turning Complaints Into Opportunities
If you want to turn customer service complaints into opportunities, you need to create systems for handling complaints as they arise. Having established procedures will reduce the amount of time it takes to solve problems, which helps put customers at ease, increasing satisfaction. If you catalog every complaint, you can also use the scenarios in company training programs. Use each complaint to develop role plays or to pose dilemmas that encourage your customer service representatives to come up with better ways to handle tough problems. This is a great way to turn customer service complaints into learning opportunities for everyone on your staff.
You can even turn customer service complaints into marketing opportunities for your company. John Goodman, a researcher in the customer service field, determined that only 4 percent of unsatisfied customers actually complain about their experiences. The other 96 percent take their business elsewhere and tell up to ten other people about each problem. This creates a pyramid effect, with up to 250 people learning about each bad experience by word of mouth. If you work on satisfying the 4 percent who do complain, each of them will tell six to seven other people about their more positive experiences. These people might visit your store or call you for information about your products based on positive feedback from these now-satisfied customers.
There is no way to completely avoid complaints, but it is possible to turn them into opportunities. Catalog each complaint so you can use the information to train customer service representatives, and generate positive referrals by handling complaints quickly and professionally. The way you handle customer service complaints can have a big impact on your company’s reputation and profits, so make learning how to improve your customer service a priority.
About the Author
Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond. Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites. Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.